How to select a WiFi router

If you have a broadband connection a WiFi router is an essential device if you want multiple computers and devices to connect to your internet connection hence a WiFi router is the central hub from where your internet is distributed to all your computer and WiFi devices like Cell Phones / Laptops / Computers so it makes a lot of sense to know a few details about the types of WiFi routers before you purchase a router.

There are a lot of variants you need to look before purchasing a WiFi routers and the features change from model to model, you can get a WiFi router on the low end for just Rs 1,400 to around Rs 11,000 for the high end WiFi routers, as you might have noticed there is quite a price gap and with the more expensive routers you get a lot of additional options and features but it is simply not wise to go for the most expensive router coz you might not need all those additional features.

The basic features that you get with every WiFi router is a couple of Ethernet ports generally 4 so you can connect upto 4 wired computers with the router and WiFi radio which provides WiFi (Wireless internet access) to your WiFi enabled devices like Laptops / smartphones.

Ethernet Speed: Generally in the budget WiFi routers the Ethernet ports provided are of 100Mbps this speed is more than enough for normal usage scenarios but if you daily transfer a lot of data couple of GB’s from one wired computer to another then a router that supports Gigabit Ethernet (1000 Mbps) will help makes the transfers a lot faster also if you have other networking devices like NAS (Network Attached Storage) a Gigabit Ethernet connection helps but again routers that support Gigabit Ethernet connection are much more expensive.

WiFi Speeds: Most of the WiFi routers sold these days work on the 2.4 Ghz frequency band and support the N band you might get very cheap routers on sale with ‘G’ band which supports speed upto 54 Mbps and the Basic ‘N’ Band router supports speeds upto 150 Mbps these are single band router, you also get routers that can support theoretical speeds upto 300 Mbps do note that these speeds are theoretical speeds and expect real worlds speeds of around 50% of the rated speeds generally for all WiFi connections, as expect a router which supports the 300 Mbps ‘N ‘ speeds has 2 antennas instead of single antenna that we get with ‘N’ 150 Mbps speeds, as expected the price for 300 Mbps ‘N’ router is a little more but in my opinion these routers offer a much better range and throughput than the basic N 150 based routers.

5 Ghz WiFi Band: As stated in the earlier paragraph most of the routers work on the 2.4 Ghz frequency and they offer pretty decent range but the problem with the 2.4 Ghz is that in heavy urban areas particular in apartments, where lot of people might be already using WiFi routers and hence due to that you WiFi routers range might get significantly reduce due to all the interference and lack of clear channel due to other WiFi routers in that area to solve this issue a new band was released on the 5 Ghz, currently the 5 Ghz band is not that congested so if you live a apartment where you are not getting good WiFi reception / range on 2.4 Ghz band you might need to move to the 5 Ghz

WiFi band but do note that you WiFi devices like laptops should support 5 Ghz band and only high end laptops and computers support that also many other devices like mobile phones game consoles etc only support the 2.4 Ghz, taking my personal example in my apartment I see about 8-10 odd WiFi networks and all of them are on the 2.4 Ghz band I have now moved to 5 Ghz band and I am the only one in my apartment that uses the 5 Ghz band hence I have no congestion problems, but do note that the WiFi range on the 5 Ghz band is a bit limited I would say it is about 65% of the range offered by the 2.4 Ghz but if there is a lot of congestion on the 2.4 Ghz band in your area then you might need to move to the 5 Ghz band also the routers that support the 5 Ghz are expensive almost double the cost of 2.4 Ghz band WiFi routers.

Simultaneous Dual Band Routers: As mentioned above we can have WiFi under two bands the standard 2.4 Ghz and 5 GHz some routers to keep the cost down have the option of 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz but you can enable only one band at a given time, but there was a need of having both bands works coz many of the older devices do not support the 5 Ghz band for Wifi hence we started to see Dual Band routers these routers can simultaneously transmit WiFi signal on 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz at the same time as you can expect dual band routers with gigabit Ethernet connection are one of the most expensive routers in the market.

USB 2.0 Ports: Some of the routers from mid-range also have a USB 2.0 port at the back of the router, and you can attach portable Hard-disk or USB pen drives to the same and store files and access the same from any computer attached to your network so it can act like a Mini NAS device, many of the routers also enable DLNA server for easy media content sharing that is stored on the USB device, so if you have media player like WDTV, PS3 or Xbox 360 you can easily watch movies / media that is stored on that USB device attached to the router.

3G data card support: Some WiFi routers even allow you to add a 3G datacard hence using a single 3G datacard you can get internet access to multiple computers if you router supports the 3G data-card functionality.

Download and Torrent Client: Some of the routers which have the USB port at the back also have a in-built download manager / bit torrent client hence you can download torrents even when you PC is switched off if your router has this functionality.

Guest Network Support: Some of the premium WiFi routers provide an option for adding an additional network with it’s own (SSID) generally called the guest network so if you have a lot of guest you can enable that and give the guest network password to them and they can access the internet but they will not be able to access the other computers on your primary WiFi network, so if you frequently get guest and you do not want them to give access to your primary network look for the guest network feature.

WiFi throughput and overall speeds: It is also very important to note the overall WiFi range offered by the router also it is important to note how the router deals when the load is put on the same for example when multiple computers or WiFi devices are simultaneously connected to the router so do your dude diligence and read up reviews of the specific models of WiFi routers before you purchase one coz not all routers are equal in this regard.

If you plan to use 4-5 Wifi devices simultaneously and a couple of other devices / computers attached to Ethernet port then you might need to purchase a router that has the power to optimally handle the load in these circumstances coz a router is basically a mini computer and budget routers have a low powered processors and little Ram around 8 MB on the other hand some of the high end router have a processor that are in the range of 500-650 Mhz and 64-128 MB Ram hence can handle even heavy loads with multiple simultaneous connections with ease also some routers are friendly with open firmwares like dd-wrt so if you plan to install a third party firmware check if the router supports that.

So these are some of the major things to take into account while purchasing a new WiFi router, if you are looking for a basic router with good functionality then I would suggest the N300 based routers and you can get them below Rs 2,500 but if you require additional functionality the prices of the routers start going up as the feature list get added, I will be doing reviews for some high end Dual band Wifi routers available in the Indian market this month.



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  1. VARUN CHUGH

    i want to buy wireless modem with router, preferably 300mbps one with good wifi range and my budget is around 2500 for my airtel connection, currently i m using beetel 450TC1, and i have 4 smartphones, smart tv,1 desktop and 2 laptops that will be sharing it……so could u pls suggest me

  2. Neeraj Bhatia

    Hello Ranjit,
    i want to buy and wifi router which can download torrent files when my pc is off and also has dual antenna which have good range……
    suggest me a wifi router for about 1500 Rs to 2000Rs

  3. Pramod Kumar Pada

    Hi Ranjit,

    Want to buy a Wifi Router for my Office.
    I already have a Belkin Router Model # F7D2301 v1(01A), which works pretty good. But due to people growing in the Office , i am unable to connect few devices. Seems like the Load is increasing on the Belkin.. We are a people of 45, out of which around 23 Laptops and 10 Mobile are getting connected, so I always have a connectivity issue.
    Now I am planning to go for a better performance and good Router. Please suggest one.
    How is N750DB ?

  4. Pramod Kumar Pada

    The above model is Belkin N750DB Wireless Dual Band N Router.
    I am ready to spend an amount of 10000/- . So please please suggest me a proper router which helps my browsing to happen with no breakages.
    Thank you

  5. 450534

    Hi Ranjit,
    I am using a USB 3g dongle currently and was about to get a wifi router from TP-link the “TL-MR3420″, but TP-link also has a ADSL modem cum wifi router which also support 3g dongle the “TD-W8968″ model, in case If I get ADSL connection in future, both priced almost the same.I need your suggestion on choosing the right one, my primary need is to get a wifi hotspot in my house with good range.and your review are to the point thanks

  6. robert alexander

    Hey Ranjith, I own a House build up in 2400 sq.ft. I need a good router to cover the whole area. Please suggest me with a good product with torrent support and usb usage.

  7. Lavi Komra

    hello sir iam using bsnl bb with bsnl wireless router TDSL300W2.now i want to change this router,can u suggest me which is best for me under 2000-2500 rupee.

  8. Trishan Talukdar

    I have a duplex. Is there any good router which would give me the range to both floors? Each floor has 2 rooms. What is the max wifi range I will get with a budget router which is place in one of the rooms? Please suggest me some good ones.

  9. Rebellious Rahman

    Hello Sir, I am looking forward to buy a good router. I have ended up my search with the following two products.. Cisco Linksys E900 Wireless-N300 Router and Asus Wireless-N300 Router RT-N12LX. So which one would be the best choice ???
    awaiting a quick reply.. :/

  10. Vijeth R

    TP-Link N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router(TL-WDR3600) I’m looking to buy this Router shall i buy or u suggest any other

  11. MrCombuster

    Hey ranjeet i have to go to college everyday and my daily number gets roaming when i reach the college hence no internet and no wifi in college too. can i buy a 3g dongle and connect it to a powerbank? will it work? never used a 3g dongle tho. does it give out wifi signal? and will it work on a portable powerbank? Thanks a lot.

  12. Parth Patel

    @ranjit sir, from last 2-3 days i’m visit your youtube videos for wifi-routers reviews, now i have 1 question i’m planing to buy Asus RT-N12 LX Wireless Router. to use in my home & i have reliance wireline broadband. which have 1mbps speed.. so pls i request to you give me your review on Asus RT-N12 LX Wireless Router..
    sir i’m waiting 4 your reply.. pls reply to me..

  13. Suryapratim Paul

    Hi, I like to know the function of a wifi extender. Is it just extend the network or it also act as router? Please suggest a router without modem as I’ve it. Can I share my internet connection with other gadgets using a router without modem?

  14. mubeen dadan

    hey good job good info… i am planning to buy a router for basic use D-LINK DIR-605L WIRELESS N300 CLOUD ROUTER is it a good choice…. i will use the router 24/7 it means it will be always on and i hve a question that does my main computer should be always on when others using the wifi…

  15. Yousef Al Asousi

    hello
    need your advice please ,, PlayStation , 5 devices conking ,, what router should I go for !!!
    thanks

  16. Dr. Pratik Chaudhari

    i i am using just one pc and a laptop and a mobile @ home with normal usage just for surfing and downloading !! which is good for me ??my budget is 1000rs

  17. jay gandhi

    please help me sir..
    I am normal home user..
    which router is best for now…
    my budget is 1500 rs..
    hope you suggest me best router…
    thanks in advance…

  18. Aumkar Padiyar

    can you please suggest some routers
    that come under your description of an ideal router
    please
    i checked many sites but i am totally confused

    thanks in advance !!!!

  19. Dipak Ranawat

    Hi Ranjit. I had earlier contacted you regarding Neo V. I bought it.
    I then bought Note 2 purely on your advice.
    I haven’t regretted both my decisions. So I feel it is best to ask you which router should I buy?
    I also need a dongle to be able to connect to office laptop on the go. So would a router with 3G/4G support be the best option?
    What are your view about Portable 3G/4G Wireless N Router TL-MR3020?

  20. Aswani K.A

    Hi ranjit,
    I want to know about this CISCO Linksys EA4500 product.
    Actually i got this product in Qatar from Qtel fibre networks while using internet here.after that i closed my net connection, but this product is with me now.
    so my question is,my family is staying in hyderabad,they are using BEAM FIBER speed is 4 mbps,so can i use this product in hyderabad as a wifi router.is it suports.
    Please suggest me how it usefull for me,if any upgradations for this please tell me.
    Thanks in advance

  21. DEEPAN MONDAL

    hello ranjit!i recently bought a dlink dwr-113 router and it can only connect to one device at a time,can you please walk me through the settings because i’m at my wits end,trying to figure out what to do,even my isp dont know,why it cant!I can connect multiple devices to the router but internet can be accesed in only one device at a time!!please help!!!!

  22. Soni Sanket

    Hi,
    I’m little confused between wifi router with modem and without modem..
    Actually i’m using a Ethernet cable(which directly connected to my pc) modem..and i want to rout it wireless,
    So which type of router should i buy?
    With modem or without modem?
    please help me as soon..

  23. MrKissMyAssNooB

    hii
    i guess i have a adsl moderm with wifi (the default given by mtnl)

    wt should i buy for gaming
    do we need both the modem and router or we can use router to run internet

  24. ilashus

    Cloud technology in router means : If you plug-in an USB drive to router, the data can be shared within all the devices that are connected to that router !!!

  25. harsh baid

    please recommend a wifi router in a budget of Rs. 2500 with great range and i don’t have a wireless card in computer so is it possible to run net through ethernet port .

  26. freefieldindia

    I am looking for a router that will, work 24×7, last for long time, download torrent efficiently, Stream HD videos & Photos to TVs iPAD, Mobile,
    With the advent of 802.11ac and IPv6 thing are very confusing.

  27. pamtam1

    Hi, I am looking for a modem plus router device under Rs. 2000. If I could get more functionalities I can pay upto rs. 2500. Can you suggest……..

  28. Aroop Kundu

    i think it is the dBi ratings and no of antennas and the standard (N has max) which determine the range

  29. sobhanand menon

    Hello Ranjit, I want to put my whole office to wifi for internet and file sharing.
    I have 6 desktop PC (without wireless function) and few laptop , mobiles & tabs which will be connected, spread over an area of 2000 Sq. Ft. . Can you please suggest me what router I should purchase and the accessories to go with them. Also the approximate cost of the setup?

  30. Moorthy OVSN

    Ranjit ji,
    GREETINGS,
    It is understood that you are the right man to guide me.
    I have BSNL HUAWEI WA 1003A ADSL with wi-fi Now I shifted to beam
    broadband. CAN I use my WA 1003A to beam broadband to get wi-fi by using RJ
    45 to RJ 11 input to WA 1003A? because HUAWEI WA 1003A got one port of
    RJ 11, one USB and one Ethernet port as out put.
    Beam people suggesting to buy one more router of delink / belkin etc to use
    wi-fi.
    As a Hyderabadee guide me and give me a cost effective suggestion,
    Thanking you


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